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Sex role, Women, Success


This study begins where the research and theory on women and success leave off. Throughout the seventies, the notion that women "feared success" was popular, and numerous studies used Matina Horner's (1968) construct of Fear of Success as an independent variable, even as attempts to replicate her study showed mixed results and raised serious questions. At the same time, feminist psychological theory was going in two new directions. Constructivist and some psychoanalytic theorists were looking at ways in which women conceive of reality differently from men (Gilligan, 1977, 1979; Murphy and Gilligan, 1980; Chodorow, 1978; Dinnerstein, 1976) . The question of morality, sense of self and why women mother were explored from these theoretical viewpoints. Other theorists (Bern, 1974; Spence and Helmreich, 1978; Kaplan, 1979; Kaplan and Sedney, 1980) were filling out the concept of psychological androgyny, and finding ways of measuring psychological sex which allowed an individual of either sex to be seen as psychologically feminine, masculine, or androgynous. Androgyny is defined as "the combined presence of socially valued, stereotypical, feminine and masculine characteristics" (Kaplan and Sedney, 1980, p. 6) with the result that the individual has a larger repertoire of behaviors to draw upon to meet the needs of various life situations. Although these two branches of feminist theory have been set up against each other under the labels "androgyny theory" and "difference theory" (since the constructivists and analytic theorists saw women's worldview as innately different from men's), both are necessary for further consideration of the question of sex differences and success.